West Yellowstone biathlon

After about 36 hours at home after Junior Nationals, I left again on an airplane, later in a truck, to West Yellowstone, Montana, for biathlon North american Championships with Glenn Jobe, Phill Violett, and Britt Cogan. I will admit, the weather here is pretty miserable. Since arriving a 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, I have seen the sun once. On Wednesday, we went out to the biathlon range, about 1.5 km from the parking lot. It was fairly windy and snowy, making shooting difficult. However, we got some good shooting in and regressed to the hotel. That night, we spent about an hour making adjustments to my rifle. I got a blinder from the Altius, the local biathlon shop, but we had to “modify” it slightly. Because my rifle is a right-handed converted to be left-handed, the blinder blocked part of the bolt from going back and forth. Glenn and Phill spent some considerable time cutting away rubber and aluminum from the blinder so that it would fit on my rear sight. We made it work, but at the race we realized that it was preventing the sight from moving down when I went to make a sight correction, so we had to take it off for the race. Yesterday (Thursday) was the sprint competition. For Britt and I, the race was 7.5 km, for Phill it was 10km. The weather was slightly more cooperative. The wind died down significantly, but the snow/rain was ever-present, making seeing difficult. I was slightly intimidated in the start. Because the youngest age class is 17-18, I had race in that class. The person who started in front of me was easily six inches taller than me and the guy behind me was the same. I hit one prone target and one standing target. I didn’t feel super awesome during the race, JNs really took it out of me. Today was another training day and a chance to redeem myself for my horrendous shooting. We started at 9:30 in the hotel room and practiced safe range procedure (taking off and putting the rifle on your back). It was very productive. Afterward, we headed out into the rain to go to the range. We caught a lucky break with the weather today. It had been pouring all morning, but it let up significantly as we headed out. I shot some pretty nice groups when we shot on the paper, and I improved significantly on both prone and standing. I decided not to do more racing this week as I just don’t feel like I’m up for it. Instead, I will be Glenn’s assistant on race days. West Yellowstone is a very cool place and my only wish is for some better weather.

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